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Step 8- Find Yourself in Their Pie Chart
Colleges try to enroll a diverse class of unique individuals. How does a selective college decide whom they are going to admit? In Step Eight we discuss the ways in which colleges create a well-rounded class of interesting students. We walk through a pie chart to help you understand how a college divides its entering class into various factors, from academics, to diversity, to athletics, to internationals, to alumni legacies.

Through understanding this process, students may come to see how they can fit in different college pie charts. If they add something special, say geographic diversity, or athletic talent, to a particular college, they may stand a better chance of being admitted to fill that slice of the pie at that college. Remember, though, that academic performance underlies all of these particular factors in the admission decision.

The pie chart is a way to understand that selective colleges, which have the luxury of choosing a class (selecting) from among more talented applicants than they can admit, build an interesting class from among those applicants by filling various needs at the college. A college needs scientists, musicians, athletes, international students, students from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, artists, children of alumni, writers.

If you can fill multiple slices of a collegeís pieósay you are the child of an alumnus who can play first violin in the orchestra and participate in the collegeís science development program for womenóand you fit the academic profile the college is looking for, then you are likely to stand out in that collegeís applicant pool. What should become clear as you look across several colleges is that you might fit zero, one, or multiple slices of the pie at different institutions.

Info and Materials

Pie Chart Analysis (printable .pdf)

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Charles Helms
Charles Helms, VP for Student Development and Diversity, Indiana University, and Robin Hamlet, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Stanford University, discuss how colleges look for students with varying talents and interests.
Length: 35 seconds
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